Joan Doris (Weenink) Wellnitz ’52

Joan WellnitzJoan Doris (Weenink) Wellnitz ’52 of Big Rapids, Michigan, passed away Nov. 3, 2019. Joan attended classes at K as a music major, where she met future husband Howard (Gus) Southworth ’50. They moved to Big Rapids in 1954 and were married for 27 years. In 1977, Joan married Jack Wellnitz. Joan served on the hospital auxiliary in at least five different decades, including a stint as president. She loved gathering with her various knitting groups—Joan was always knitting something to gift or donate, learning new knitting patterns or traveling to obtain the best alpaca and llama yarn. A member of the United Church, she participated in Bible study groups, sponsored youth in the congregation and sang in the church choir for nearly 60 years. She also participated in the local Sweet Adelines, the United Church Bell Choir and Voca Lyrica, which offered Joan the opportunity to sing in Germany, Australia and New York’s Carnegie Hall. While working at Chemical Bank, Joan helped countless new Ferris State University students open accounts when starting school. Several of these students were hockey players who convinced Joan to attend a game. Joan and Jack became fervent Blue Line Club supporters, supporting student athletes and yelling at referees for years. Joan was preceded in death by her husband, Jack, in 2014; and her son, Roger Southworth, in 1983. She is survived by six children and five grandchildren.